INTERPOL Stolen/ Lost Travel Documents Database reaches 10-million mark

24 January 2006

LYON, France – Less than four years following its creation, INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (STD) database now contains more than 10 million records.

Launched in June 2002 after INTERPOL and its member countries identified a clear link between terrorist activities and the use of lost or stolen travel documents, the database now holds details of passports, identity cards, visas and other documents from 93 countries and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo.

Many of the documents registered in the database are blank, making them particularly valuable to criminals who can easily insert photographs, descriptions and aliases.

In December 2005 Switzerland became the first country to provide access to INTERPOL’s STD database beyond the National Central Bureau (NCB) to 20,000 federal agents at border control points, customs and immigration offices, embassies and consulates, enabling officers to verify instantly if a travel document is stolen.

The integrated solution connects Swiss databases to those at the General Secretariat, so that no separate check is required, and the information can be retrieved at the touch of a button.

Efforts to further expand access to the database to police on the streets throughout the world are also underway with a series of pilot projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

'Four years ago this database did not exist, enabling criminals and terrorists to take advantage of what was a substantial loophole in border security. That we have received so much information in such a short amount of time is a reflection of the seriousness with which our member countries took this problem,' said Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin.

'While 10 million documents already entered in our database is a significant achievement, we know there are millions more which have not been registered. Each country has a duty of care to others and their citizens to share this information which could prove vital in preventing a terrorist attack, and catching international criminals.

'Through I-24/7, INTERPOL’s sophisticated communications system, the technology exists for countries to easily extend access to this and other databases to law enforcement officials at strategic points, such as airports and border crossings.'

INTERPOL’s STD database has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, the G8, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Civil Aviation Organization and members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

More than 2,000 stolen travel documents have been identified by officers using INTERPOL’s STD database since its creation in 2002.

Police in any of INTERPOL’s 184 member countries can consult the stolen travel documents database through the organization’s National Central Bureaus. Via I-24/7, officers can also access information from an array of databases, international wanted persons notice and other vital police information.